Groups to discuss plans to revitalize river

After getting a state grant last year to begin revitalizing Colonie's Mohawk Riverfront, the grassroots organization that has set its sights on rehabilitating the waterway will unveil its first in a series of strategies to do so next week.

Shortly after Mohawk River Community Partners (MCRP) received a $65,000 New York's Department of State Division of Coastal Resources grant, the group joined forces with University at Albany graduate students, town planners and volunteers to come up with the Water Revitalization Strategy and Action Plan.

The two groups will present their findings Monday, Oct. 16, at The Crossings of Colonie.

The first task the groups tackled was coming up with ways to improve access points to the river along the town's 10-mile stretch of waterfront. The group is calling for public input in compliance with conditions of the grant for realistic solutions to some of the problems facing revitalizing public access areas, said MRCP president Stephen Cotler.

Some of the problems include halting silting of the waterway through subsidiary water sources, cutting back invasive plants in boating and swimming areas, and the matter of coming up with the money to do those things.

"Everything hinges on money, but hopefully we can get a better understanding of the hydraulics of the river and the silting. It's a long-term effort that is going to be fueled by cash, which we don't have right now. But, we do have enough to get started," said Cotler.

For now, the matter of money will take a back burner to how and when the partners will complete the revitalization strategy. First things first, the public will be familiarized with what 14 University at Albany graduate students are proposing to get started and begin improving access to the river.

"The task the contract calls upon is strengthening existing points of access to the river's visual and physical characteristics," said Gene A. Bunnell associate professor at University at Albany's geography and planning department.

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